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Full text of "Lincoln's Springfield, a guide book & brief history"

LINCOLN'S 
SPRINGFIELD 

^3 r£e/yc?£is toiry 



LINCOLN ROOM 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 
LIBRARY 




MEMORIAL 

the Class of 1901 

founded by 

HARLAN HOYT HORNER 

and 

HENRIETTA CALHOUN HORNER 




LINCOLN'S 
SPRINGFIELD 




by 
Harry E. Prj 






Illinois State Historical Society 

Springfield, Illinois 

1955 



Copyright 

By 

Illinois State Historical Society 

1955 



LINCOLN IN SPRINGFIELD 

((Springfield is many times larger than it 
was in Lincoln's time, and the passing 
years have made great changes in its ap- 
pearance. Nevertheless, some of the 
buildings in which he lived and worked 
remain. To acquaint the visitor with 
these structures, and convey to him some- 
thing of the part they played in Lin- 
coln's life and work, is the purpose of this 
little book. ((When Lincoln came to 
Springfield in the spring of 1837 the town 
was anything but prepossessing. Small 
store buildings lined the square, in the 
center of which stood a two-story brick 
court house. Most of the twelve or thir- 
teen hundred inhabitants lived in small 
frame houses, with here and there an im- 
posing residence, and just as often the 
simple cabin of an early pioneer. Rem- 
nants of the groves in which the town 
was founded furnished shade, but other- 
wise the streets were bare of trees. In 
summer every passing team raised clouds 
of dust while in winter the mud seemed to 
have no bottom, for there was not a foot 



of pavement. Hogs, cows and chickens 
wandered at will, and disputed the few 
board walks and footpaths with pedes- 
trians. ((In the twenty-four years of Lin- 
coln's residence Springfield grew to a city 
of ten thousand inhabitants. The brick 
court house was soon replaced by the 
stone State House. In time two and three 
story brick buildings supplanted the 
smaller stores around the square and lined 
the adjacent streets. Fine homes ap- 
peared, and the log cabins vanished. Rail- 
roads came, and with them, many of the 
conveniences and graces of life. But crudi- 
ties remained, for except around the 
square the streets were still unpaved, 
hogs still wallowed in mud holes, and 
frogs croaked in undrained swamps. 
((Such, in brief, was the environment in 
which Lincoln, by the twin paths of law 
and politics, attained national promi- 
nence. The successive steps in his pro- 
fessional life are found in summary form 
in the following pages; his political 
career deserves a few words here. ((At 
the time of his settlement in Springfield, 
Lincoln was serving his second term as 
a member of the Illinois House of Repre- 
sentatives. In 1838 and again in 1840 he 



was re-elected. ((After four terms in 
the General Assembly, Lincoln set elec- 
tion to the national House of Representa- 
tives as his goal. His chance came in 
1846, and he was duly elected. His term 
in Congress, however, was a deep disap- 
pointment. Not only did he fail to win 
the distinction he hoped for, but by op- 
posing the Mexican War, he incurred the 
displeasure of most of his constituents. 
When, after Taylor's election in 1848, he 
was unable to secure appointment to an 
office which he wanted, he retired in dis- 
appointment and resolved to devote him- 
self to the law. ((This resolution he kept 
until 1854, when the passage of the 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill thoroughly aroused 
him. From that time on he threw all his 
energies into the fight against what he 
considered to be the growing menace of 
slavery. By 1856, when the Republican 
Party was organized in Illinois, he was 
generally considered its leader; two years 
later all were agreed that he was the only 
possible opponent of Douglas. For three 
months the two rivals traveled over the 
state, speaking in every sizable town. 
Douglas won, but Lincoln did not lose, 
for a national reputation was the reward 



of his effort. ((This reputation served 
him well in I860, when the Republican 
Party gathered in national convention at 
Chicago. The most prominent leaders — 
Seward, Chase, Bates and McLean — were 
either too radical, or too conservative, 
or too old, or too long in public life, for 
strong factions of the party, and the prize 
fell to Lincoln. At the news cannon 
boomed, bonfires blazed, and Springfield 
went wild with joy — and not until Lin- 
coln spoke his words of farewell on Feb- 
ruary 11, 1861, did it relapse into its cus- 
tomary uneventful existence. ((The build- 
ings described in this little book reflect 
much of Lincoln's life in Springfield. 
Perhaps, through them, the visitor will 
be able to visualize the town of which 
they were once an integral part. And if 
he is fortunate, he may even get a glimpse 
of a gaunt man in a tall hat, an old gray 
shawl around his shoulders, walking 
slowly and with head bowed in thought 
—a man whom any one in Springfield 
could have identified as Abraham Lin- 
coln. 




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THE LINCOLN HOME 

Northeast Corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets 

((Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln and their infant 
son, Robert, moved into this house in the 
spring of 1844, and this was their home 
until they left for Washington in 1861. 
Here three sons were born, Edward, Wil- 
liam and Thomas; and here Edward died. 
((The house was built in 1839 by the Rev. 
Charles Dresser, the Episcopal rector who 
married Lincoln and Mary Todd three 
years later. Dresser sold the property to 
Lincoln on May 2, 1844, for $1500. The 
house was originally a story and a half 
in height, but in 1856 the full second story 



when completed, the building had cost 
$260,000. It was remodeled in 1901, by 
raising it a story, putting on a new roof 
and dome, and adding entrances at the 
east and west. ((The old building is re- 
plete with memories of Abraham Lincoln. 
Here the Twelfth General Assembly, of 
which he was a member, met in its last 
session in the winter of 1840-1841. Here 
in the Supreme Court Chambers he argued 
more than two hundred cases upon which 
he spent long hours in preparation. ((The 
old chamber of the House of Representa- 
tives was the scene of his political rebirth 
in October, 1854, when, in reply to Doug- 
las, he delivered one of the most profound 
speeches of his life. Here on June 16, 
1858, he delivered his famous 'House Di- 
vided* speech. ((Following his election 
to the Presidency, the Governor's room 
was used by Mr. Lincoln for an office. 
Three months after he left for Washington 
his former antagonist, Stephen A. Doug- 
las, voiced his Union sentiments in a great 
speech in the hall of the House of Repre- 
sentatives. ((On May 3 and 4, 1865, the 
body of Lincoln lay here in state while a 
silent throng passed by for a final look at 
their fellow townsman. 




LINCOLN'S LAW OFFICES 

((Lincoln moved from New Salem to 
Springfield in April, 1837, and immediate- 
ly began the practice of law with John T. 
Stuart. They occupied an office in the 
front room on the second floor in Hoff- 
man's Row, at 109 N. Fifth Street. The 
first floor was occupied by the Circuit 
Court of Sangamon County and the Stuart 
& Lincoln office was used as a jury room. 
((In the spring of 1841 when the partner- 
ship with Stephen T. Logan was formed, 
the office of Logan & Lincoln was moved 
directly across the street. The firm later 
moved to the third floor of the Tinsley 



Building on the southwest corner of 
Sixth and Adams streets. On the second 
floor was located the United States Court 
room in which Lincoln practised. In 1855 
the United States Courts removed to the 
new Logan Building at the northeast 
corner of the square. In the court room 
there, on the second floor, Lincoln tried 
some ninety cases. ((The office in the 
Tinsley Building was occupied by Mr. 
Lincoln after the dissolution of the firm 
of Logan & Lincoln, and here was formed 
the partnership with William H. Hern- 
don, which lasted until 1861. ((Late in 
the 'forties' Lincoln & Herndon gave up 
the Tinsley Building office. After short 
periods in several other locations, they 
moved to the second floor of a brick build- 
at 105 South Fifth Street. The office con- 
sisted of a medium sized room, in the cen- 
ter of which stood a long table with a 
shorter one at the end. In one corner was 
a desk containing the law papers of the 
firm; a book case against the wall held 
about two hundred law books and other 
volumes. The lounge, and a tall, un- 
blackened stove were the only other 
important articles of equipment. 




THE C M. SMITH STORE 

South side Public Square near Sixth Street 

((Clark M. Smith, his brother Stephen, 
and William Yates opened a store at this 
location in 1852. It became one of the 
leading grocery and dry goods stores in 
Springfield. Mrs. Lincoln, whose young- 
est sister Ann Maria had married C. M. 
Smith, traded at the store. On its books 
appear entrys similar to these: "per Bob 
10 lbs. Sugar $1.00," and "per Son 6 doz. 
Eggs .$.50." Mrs. Lincoln bought silk, 
silk lining, plaid silk, gaiter boots, and 
kid boots for herself. ((On one occasion, 



LIBRARY 



■ ill 



r^H 



in March, 1859, Mr. Lincoln balanced his 
account by a payment of $407.72. Bal- 
ances this large were not unusual in a day 
of long credits, when accounts sometimes 
covered several years. ((In late January, 
1861, Mr. Lincoln wished to begin his in- 
augural address. The crowds that came 
to see him at his office made work on the 
address there impossible. Mr. Smith 
offered the use of a back room on the third 
floor above his store. Accepting his offer, 
Lincoln asked his law partner, William 
H. Herndon, to bring him some books he 
would need. To Herndon 's great sur- 
prise, Lincoln asked for only four things. 
"He asked me," said Herndon, "to fur- 
nish him with Henry Clay's great speech 
delivered in 1850; Andrew Jackson's proc- 
lamation against Nullification; and a copy 
of the Constitution. He afterwards called 
for Webster's reply to Hayne, a speech 
which he read at New Salem, and which 
he always regarded as the grandest spec- 
imen of American oratory." ((The old 
merchant's desk with its sloping front and 
many pigeon holes upon which the first 
inaugural address was written is in the 
lobby of the Illinois State Historical Li- 
brary in the Centennial Building. 




THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION 

Jackson, Edwards, Fourth and Fifth Streets 

((The Governor's Mansion is a three-story 
white house of twenty-eight rooms, built 
of superior brick masonry, and located on 
a beautiful knoll in the heart of Spring- 
field. ((The mansion has been the home 
of the Governors of the State of Illinois 
and a center of Springfield's social life 
since 1855- ((Before 1855, the Governors 
lived in a house at the northwest corner 
of Eighth Street and Capitol Avenue. 
The first appropriation of $15,000, to 
buy a site and erect an executive man- 
sion, was made by the legislature on 



February 12, 1853. Two years later a 
further appropriation of $16,000 was 
made to complete the home and beau- 
tify the grounds. In 1889 the front of the 
building was reconstructed, the interior 
redecorated and modern conveniences in- 
stalled. (^Lincoln watched the erection 
of the mansion and, in company with 
Mrs. Lincoln, attended several large par- 
ties there. One of these, held on Febru- 
ary 13, 1857, is described as a delightful 
and magnificent entertainment, Governor 
and Mrs. Bissell doing the honors of host 
and hostess with an ease and grace which 
attracted and pleased all who were pres- 
ent. ((There are recreation rooms on 
the ground floor. On the first floor are 
the reception rooms and the State Dining 
Room. The sun parlor, library and suites 
of bedrooms are on the second floor. In 
the State dining room hangs an interesting 
portrait of Edward D. Baker, prominent 
Whig friend of Lincoln and United States 
Senator from Oregon. Painted by 
Stephen W. Shaw, it was acquired by 
Mr. Lincoln, and in 1872 was presented to 
the State of Illinois by Mrs. Lincoln. 







FAREWELL ADDRESS 

Tenth and Monroe Streets 

((The morning of Lincoln's departure, 
February 11, 1861, was dark and chill, 
and a drizzling rain was falling. Al- 
though Mrs. Lincoln and the boys were 
to depart later and join the special train 
en route, both Willie and Tad jumped 
into the hotel bus to escort their father 
to the depot. ((Arriving at the Great 
Western railway station, a short farewell 
reception took place in the waiting room. 
From this station, two weeks previously, 
Mr. Lincoln had taken a train to Charles- 



ton to visit his stepmother, a pleasant 
visit with a touching farewell. ((At 
eight o'clock Lincoln crossed the street 
to the spur track, entered the second of 
the two cars, and passed through to the 
rear platform. Removing his hat, and in 
a solemn voice and with eyes that were 
not free from tears, he said : ' 'My Friends : 
No one, not in my situation, can appre- 
ciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. 
To this place, and the kindness of these 
people, I owe everything. Here I have 
lived a quarter of a century, and have 
passed from a young to an old man. Here 
my children have been born, and one is 
buried. I now leave, not knowing when 
or whether ever I may return, and with a 
task before me greater than that which 
rested upon Washington. Without the 
assistance of that Divine Being who ever 
attended him, I cannot succeed. With 
that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting 
in Him who can go with me, and remain 
with you, and be everywhere for good, 
let us confidently hope that all will yet 
be well. To His care commending you, 
as I hope in your prayers you will com- 
mend me, I bid you an affectionate fare- 
well." 




BENJAMIN S. EDWARDS HOME 

801 North Fifth Street 

((This house became one of the social cen- 
ters of Springfield in 1843, when it was 
acquired by Benjamin S. Edwards, son of 
the third Governor of Illinois, Ninian 
Edwards. For nearly three quarters of a 
century it continued to be known for its 
hospitality. ((The house was built about 
1833. With its fourteen acres of trees, it 
had been the home of Dr. Thomas Hough- 
an. An account of a picnic given here in 
1840 catches some of the beauty of the 
place: "They selected a most beautiful 
spot, where we assembled in the latter 



part of the afternoon. . . . 'Twas really 
a delightful scene. The branches of some 
of the tallest trees formed a canopy over 
our heads to screen us from the rays of a 
cloudless sun. A velvet lawn spread it- 
self beneath our feet." ((Here 'legislative 
parties', to which all the members of the 
legislature were invited, were held and 
attended by the society people of the little 
city. Elaborate suppers were served, in 
picnic style. ((The grove north of the 
house was used for many political meet- 
ings. Springfield's first large political 
gathering, the Young Men's Convention, 
June 2, 3, 4, 1840, was the occasion for an 
old-fashioned barbecue in the grove, 
which 15,000 enthusiastic Whigs attend- 
ed. Stephen A. Douglas addressed a 
throng in the grove on July 17, 1858, dur- 
ing his campaign for re-election to the 
United States Senate. ((In Mrs. Edwards' 
recollections of the funeral of President 
Lincoln she said: "Our house, being on 
the road to the cemetery, was thrown 
open, our rooms were all occupied, cots 
being put in the library and back room 
even, to accomodate friends who came 
from Kentucky and elsewhere." 




HENRY HORNER 
LINCOLN ROOM 

Illinois State Historical Library 
Centennial Building 

((The Horner-Lincoln Room in the Histor- 
ical Library has one of the country's 
largest collections (6,000 items) of books 
and pamphlets on the life of Abraham 
Lincoln. All new publications are added, 
and the search goes on for items not on 
the Library shelves. ((Manuscripts in 
the Library written by Lincoln number 
approximately 1,100 (including over 300 



legal documents) dating from 1831 to 
1865. From his New Salem years (1831- 
1837) there are election returns, land sur- 
veys, receipts, and his earliest extant 
letter (July 1, 1834 to George Spears). 
Lincoln's earliest known check, for $37 
to "Self" on November 24, 1855, is 
matched in interest by his marriage 
license, the contract for the purchase of 
his home, his only extant letter to his 
stepmother, and a page of notes used in 
his debates with Douglas in 1858. ((His 
fifteen letters to Joshua F. Speed, intimate 
friend, include seven revealing letters by 
Lincoln on the subject of marriage. ((One 
of the five copies of the Gettysburg 
Address written by the President was 
purchased for $60,000 in 1944 for the 
Library by the schoolchildren of Illinois 
with the assistance of Marshall Field. 
((The original record book of the Pigeon 
Creek Baptist Church, to which Lincoln's 
parents belonged in Indiana, and a copy 
of William Dean Howells' 1860 campaign 
biography of Lincoln with corrections in 
Lincoln's handwriting, are in the Library. 
((There are letters and documents written 
by the President's father, his wife and 
sons, Robert, Willie and Tad. 




LINCOLN TOMB 

((Immediately after the death of Lincoln 
the people of Springfield began to plan for 
an appropriate burial place and memorial. 
The site of the present State House was 
selected, but in deference to the wishes of 
Mrs. Lincoln, interment was made in Oak 
Ridge Cemetery on May 4, 1865. Under 
the auspices of the National Lincoln Mon- 
ument Association the collection of money 
began at once. Large contributions came 
from the Sunday School children of the 
country, and from the enlisted men, par- 
ticularly the colored troops. The State 
of Illinois appropriated $50,000. By 1868 



sufficient funds for an adequate monu- 
ment were available. ((The leading artists 
of the country were invited to submit de- 
signs. That of Larkin G. Mead, Jr., 
of Brattleboro, Vermont, was chosen. 
Ground was broken in 1869, but the work 
progressed slowly, and the monument was 
not dedicated until 1874. ((In 1895 the 
monument was transferred by the Na- 
tional Lincoln Monument Association to 
the State of Illinois. Four years later it 
was rebuilt to remedy structural defects. 
((In 1930 a second reconstruction was un- 
dertaken. On this occasion the exterior 
of the monument was unchanged, but the 
interior was completely rebuilt. Interior 
corridors were opened from the entrance 
to the tomb proper. Small replicas of 
famous Lincoln statues were placed in the 
corners. A new sarcophagus, surrounded 
by the president's flag and the flags of the 
seven states through which the Lincoln 
family passed in its westward migration 
was placed above the body of Lincoln. 
((In addition to the body of Lincoln, the 
monument contains the bodies of Mrs. 
Lincoln and three of the four Lincoln chil- 
dren. 




ABRAHAM LINCOLN 
MEMORIAL GARDEN 

On the eastern shore of Lake Springfield 

((A unique memorial is the Abraham 
Lincoln Memorial Garden, a sixty-acre 
tract along the eastern shore of Lake 
Springfield. Planted with the trees, 
shrubs and flowers native to the middle 
west in which Lincoln lived, it has 
cultural significance because of the con- 
centration here of the natural beauty of 
pioneer Illinois, and a spiritual appeal 
through its sheer beauty and the idea 
behind its development. ((The Garden 
Club of Illinois, a federation of com- 
munity garden clubs, planted the garden 



on land set aside for the club by the City 
of Springfield. The Garden was designed 
by Jens Jensen, famous internationally for 
his naturalistic landscape designs. The 
members of the Garden Club believed 
that Lincoln's love for nature was a con- 
tributing factor in his growth, and set 
about creating a living memory of that 
beauty. ((On the higher elevations are 
planted the forest trees, threaded through 
them and bordering them are the beauti- 
ful, small trees native to Illinois, the red- 
bud, the dogwood, the shad, the crab- 
apple and a host of others, and the native 
shrubs, so varied and so spectacular. In 
the open spaces are prairie flowers and 
along the water's edge are the plants of 
the open meadow. ([The plantings were 
started in 1936 and have continued as 
conditions were favorable. ((The Garden 
is maintained jointly by the City of 
Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln 
Memorial Garden Foundation. Already 
the plantings are taking on a look of 
permanence and the picture Jens Jensen 
had in mind is taking shape. The kind 
of landscape Lincoln knew when the 
Sangamon country was young has become 
a living reality. 



OTHER HISTORIC 
PLACES IN SPRINGFIELD 

This list of historic places is arranged, 
in order, for a tour from the Centennial 
Building on the Capitol Grounds to the 
center of the city. Bronze markers are 
to be found at nearly all sites. 

1. ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL 
LIBRARY. Third floor of the Centennial 
Building. Large collection of books, 
pamphlets and newspaper files relating to 
the life of Lincoln. In the Lincoln Room 
are displayed paintings, miniatures, pho- 
tographs and engravings of Lincoln, and 
many articles that belonged to him. 

2. SITE OF THE HOME OF NINIAN 
W. EDWARDS. Northwest corner of the 
Centennial Building. Here Abraham Lin- 
coln and Mary Todd were married Novem- 
ber 4, 1842; and here Mrs. Lincoln died 
July 16, 1882. The house was torn down 
to make room for the Centennial Build- 
ing. 

3. STATUE OF ABRAHAM LIN- 
COLN. In front of State House, Capitol 
Avenue at Second Street. This statue by 



Andrew O'Connor, of Lincoln giving his 
Farewell Address, February 11, 1861, was 
erected in 1918. 

4. SITE OF THE SECOND PRESBY- 
TERIAN CHURCH. Ill South Fourth 
Street. Here Lincoln served in the Elev- 
enth General Assembly, 1839-1840, and 
delivered his Address before the Young 
Men's Lyceum of Springfield, January 27, 
1838. 

5. SITE OF THE GLOBE TAVERN. 
315 East Adams Street. Here Mr. and Mrs. 
Lincoln made their home following their 
marriage, and here Robert T. Lincoln was 
born. 

6. SITE OF THE FIRST PRESBY- 
TERIAN CHURCH. 302 East Washing- 
ton Street. Mrs. Lincoln joined this 
church April 13, 1852. The Lincoln pew 
is now in the present First Presbyterian 
Church at Seventh Street and Capitol 
Avenue. 

7. SITE OF LAST LINCOLN AND 
HERNDON LAW OFFICE. 105 South 
Fifth Street. In 1860 and for several years 
prior to that date the firm had an office 
here. 

8. SITE OF JOSHUA F. SPEED 
STORE. 103 South Fifth Street. Here 



Lincoln lived when he came to Spring- 
field in 1837. 

9. SITE OF STUART & LINCOLN'S 
LAW OFFICE. 1837-1841. 109 North 
Fifth Street. Their office, in the front 
room on the second floor, was also used 
as a jury room by the Sangamon County 
Circuit Court, 1837-1840. 

10. SITE OF THE ILLINOIS STATE 
JOURNAL BUILDING. 116-118 North 
Sixth Street. 'The Journal paper was 
always my friend; and, of course its edi- 
tors the same," wrote Lincoln in 1864. 
He sometimes wrote editorials for the 
Journal and from it he received support in 
all his campaigns. At the office of the 
paper on May 18, 1860, Lincoln received 
the news of his nomination for the presi- 
dency. 



The Illinois State 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

((The Illinois State Historical Society was 
organized on May 19, 1899 at the Uni- 
versity of Illinois in Urbana. ((The 
Society was chartered by the State of 
Illinois on May 23, 1900, as a not-for- 
profit organization. ((An act approved 
May 6, 1903 officially connected the 
Society with the Illinois State Historical 
Library (established in 1889), and the 
Library trustees were authorized to use* 
Library funds to defray incidental ex- 
penses of the Society. Since that time 
the Society has been a quasi-public organi- 
zation, supported in part by members' 
dues and in part by state appropriations. 
((The Society's purpose is to collect and 
preserve data relating to the history of 
Illinois, disseminate the story of the state 
and its citizens, and encourage historical 
research. ((The JOURNAL OF THE 
ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL SOCI- 
ETY is published by the Illinois State 
Historical Library for distribution to 
members of the Society, Dues are $3 a 
year, or $50 for Life Membership. Mem- 
bership is open to all. In addition to 



the Journal, which is published four 
times a year, members of the Society 
receive publications sponsored by the 
Society which are printed by authority 
of the State of Illinois. The latter include 
occasional books and pamphlets on Illi- 
nois history. ((The ILLINOIS JUNIOR 
HISTORIAN magazine, sponsored by the 
Society, is written and illustrated by 
schoolchildren. Published monthly from 
October through May, it has proved a 
handy tool for acquainting grade and 
junior high school students with the 
history of their own towns and of the 
state. ((The Society's annual meeting is 
held in October. In May the Society visits 
some historic area. Both the meeting and 
the tour are open to all members and to 
the public. ((The Society encourages the 
formation of local historical societies 
throughout the state. News of these 
societies' activities is printed in the state 
Society's Journal; associating membership 
agreements may be made between the 
local and state societies; and co-operation 
is extended in various other ways. The 
Society also erects five or more historical 
markers each year in co-operation with the 
Illinois Division of Highways. ((To pre- 



serve historical data in all possible com- 
pleteness many types of material are 
needed. These include books about Illi- 
nois or Illinoisans, family histories, state 
and municipal publications, reports of 
Illinois institutions of all kinds, manu- 
scripts, letters, diaries, newspapers, maga- 
zines, maps, prints and photographs. The 
Historical Library has large holdings of, 
and specializes in, Lincolniana and the 
Civil War period.